Larry Bleil, the driving force behind Race World Offshore, seamlessly manages family and work commitments with dedication. Despite his family staying in Alberta, Larry Bleil promptly returns to Key West, showcasing his unwavering pursuit of excellence. The recent success of the 2023 Key West Worlds, featuring a record-breaking 75 boats, highlights the undeniable appeal of Race World Offshore’s events, marked by vibrant atmospheres, charitable initiatives, and a proactive approach to addressing concerns of racing teams.
As different as they are—particularly during the winter—the cities of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and Key West, Fla., have one thing in the common. They are Race World Offshore head Larry Bleil’s favorite places to be. Bleil’s wife, Shannon, hails from the Alberta area. So the Key West-based couple and their nine-year-old son, Max, usually head there for the holidays for a much-needed break from all things powerboating after the annual Race World Offshore World Championship in their hometown is complete.
But even in the frozen north, Bleil is never truly off the clock from the business of producing powerboat races. Race World Offshore has four events on its 2024 schedule—the April 28-30 Marathon Grand Prix in Florida, the June 7-9 Ocean City Grand Prix in Maryland, the September 27-29 XINSURANCE Clearwater Nationals in Florida and the November 3-10 Key West World Championship. All are sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association.
In fact, though his wife and young son will stay in Alberta for the next month or so enjoying time with her family, Bleil is headed to Key West tomorrow to return to work in earnest. When it comes to event production, the man is in constant motion.
And yet he always finds time to talk, as he did yesterday.
With 75 boats registered, Race World Offshore had its best Key West Worlds turnout to date. Explain that.
It’s a combination of multiple things, really. All of the classes there were competing for APBA world championships. I also think that Key West is the best race site in the world—for a week it’s nonstop fun in a party atmosphere. And being that it happens for a full week, it has three races. So if a team has a problem with its mechanical program in one of the first two it can usually get things fixed for the next one. What else could you ask for?
What was your highlight or highlights from the 2023 event?
I have several. Speed On The Water being able to raise $200,000 for a local Key West charity is a highlight—what your team does is just incredible. Our Friday raceboat showcase on Duval Street, which we changed up a little bit in 2023, was another highlight.
I also think the racing itself was a highlight. If you remember, in 2022 we didn’t even race Wednesday because of the wind and water conditions. In 2023, the weather was perfect and the racing was excellent.
You added a new event in Ocean City, Md., this season. How did that come about?
Ocean City contacted APBA and APBA contacted us. It didn’t come from a local promoter or anything like that, it was the city itself that wanted a race. So we went there and sat down with them. The race is taking the place of an air-show, which is why it has the dates it does.